Carmen Vandenberg is now playing guitar in Morrissey's live band

Honoree Carmen Vandenberg, recipient of the Bold Star Award, performs onstage during the 10th Annual She Rocks Awards at THE RANCH Restaurant on June 02, 2022 in Anaheim, California
(Image credit: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for NAMM))

Current Bones UK guitarist and former Jeff Beck collaborator Carmen Vandenberg has been revealed as the new guitarist in Morrissey's solo band for his current UK tour and previous show in Tel Aviv, Isreael. 

Her addition to the lineup comes in place of guitarist and Morrissey's songwriting collaborator Alain Whyte, whose departure from the band hasn't yet been announced in any official statement – but he has explained the reason for his absence below. Vandenberg's Instagram also doesn't mention her role in Morrissey's band as yet.

The official posted a photo of the current lineup ahead of the show Leeds show  (sans singer) on 11 July showing Blackstar signature artist Vandenberg, Juan Galeano (bass), Camila Grey (keyboards) and Jesse Tobias (guitars). The site also posted this footage of Vandenberg playing a guitar break in the song Jack The Ripper from the show that night. 

It's unclear whether Whyte's departure is permanent but his absence will come as a shock to many fans. The guitarist was Morrissey's main songwriting collaborator between 1991 and 2007, joining for the Kill Uncle tour and bowing out from the touring lineup in 2004. His collaborations with the former Smiths vocalist were still surfacing up to 2009. Whyte began working with Morrisey again in 2021 as part of his live band and is reported to have collaborated with him on four songs from the as-yet-unreleased album, Without Music the World Dies. 

Three songs from the album have since been previewed live by Morrissey and his band – including Notre Dame above – and the musician has offered the album to potential labels or private investors to distribute since acrimoniously parting with Capitol Records in 2022.  

Alain Whyte / Instagram

(Image credit: Alain Whyte / Instagram)

For his part, Whyte offered the reason for his absence from the lineup in a reply to a fan on his Instagram who asked why he didn't play at the Tel Aviv show on 4 July. "I’m sorry man but the manager was so disrespectful that I could not work for him anymore," Whyte replied (screengrab above. "I have not fallen out with Morrissey."

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.